If you plan to get serious about working out and staying fit, among the unhealthy habits you have to stop is cigarette smoking. Findings published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine highlight the adverse effects of smoking on lung fitness, with the annual decline rate of lung function among current smokers being significantly higher than never-smokers. The decline in forced expiratory volume, a risk indicator for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was 13.80 times greater.
Reduced lung function can make smokers struggle to exercise and increase the chances of injuries, as it reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the bloodstream and body’s organs. However, quitting smoking can slow down this trend and even allow individuals to improve their exercise performance. Read on to learn about the fitness-related benefits of smoking cessation and what you can do to quit early and successfully.
Fitness-Related Benefits of Smoking Cessation
Once you quit smoking, your lung function starts to improve within a few days, as the oxygen levels in your blood return to normal, and you find it easier to breathe. Since the tiny lung hairs called cilia also regain their ability to move mucus out of the lungs, you’ll also notice a reduction in coughing and wheezing. The risk of getting respiratory infections like bronchitis also decreases, allowing you to exercise without quickly getting out of breath.
Within a day of stopping smoking, your heart rate also decreases by an average of around 5–15 beats per minute (bpm). This exerts less pressure on your heart as it pumps blood to your lungs and the rest of your body, especially during particularly intense workouts. In fact, a study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that compared to current smokers, former smokers who quit with and without the help of nicotine replacement therapy had heart rates lower by 10.4 bpm and 13.4 bpm, respectively.
Tips for Quitting Smoking During Your Fitness Journey
Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Since smoking can make your body physically dependent on nicotine, you’ll likely experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can serve as a cessation aid by supplying fixed doses of nicotine into the body. If you’re the type to indulge in coffee and cigarettes before your morning workouts, you can try coffee nicotine pouches that discreetly curb cravings through oral and fast-acting nicotine absorption.
Despite being decaffeinated, pouches from brands like ZYN and LUCY have coffee flavors ranging from creamy and sweet to rich and robust. Nicotine gums from brands like Nicorette are another oral NRT you can use before or during workouts, as their acute effects on physiological responses were found to enhance cognitive function and athletic performance.
Pay Attention to Diet and Nutrition
By now, you’re probably aware of how essential diet and nutrition are to your fitness goals. A healthy, well-balanced diet improves exercise performance and success by providing you with sufficient energy, managing your weight, and ensuring the right amount of nutrient intake. Additionally, you can opt for an organic meal plan while quitting, as organic foods are rich in higher-level antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
These nutrients can help repair the heart, lungs, and other major organs while also preventing the damage from worsening. You can easily find organic foods to add to your diet at local farmers’ markets and designated sections in grocery stores.
Exercise is also an effective smoking strategy in itself, so continue building up the intensity and duration of your exercises to help you quit smoking and realize its benefits for overall physical health and fitness. If you’re in search of more tips and resources on dieting and working out, continue reading the rest of the articles here at AideFit.
This article is purposive for intended general information and does not mark individual circumstances. It is not an alternative to professional advice or help. It should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician must be consulted to diagnose and treat any medical condition. Any action you take due to the information on this page is entirely at your own risk and responsibility!